Cineclub: Madam Satan (Madame Satã)

Cineclub Brazil – October 2017

In our first film of the month we will go back to exploring the outskirts of the city of São Paulo, as we had done with Girls from ABC in April, this time with The Tenants (Os Inquilinos), directed by Sérgio Bianchi, a director who, like Carlos Reichenbach, is strongly associated with the film production from São Paulo. In Bianchi’s typically analytical approach to Brazil’s social blemishes, The Tenants dissects the tensions that subject an ordinary family man, brilliantly performed by Marat Descartes, when criminals move in to the house next door.

And then we move on in space and time to 1930’s Rio de Janeiro for Madame Satan (Madame Satã), a film based on the early years of the notorious ruffian, grifter, criminal and drag, who would later be known by that name. João Francisco dos Santos lived in Lapa, the borough of Rio that concentrated brothels, cabarets, nightclubs, pimps and prostitutes at that time. This is multi-awarded director Karim Aïnouz’s first feature film and his opportunity to explore a character that had fascinated him for some time.

All screenings are FREE but RSVP essential due to limited space.


Doors open at 18:15 h. Screenings begin at 18:45 h.

No latecomers after 19:00 h.

4 October | 18:15 h. Doors | 18:45 h. Screening

The Tenants (Os Inquilinos)

The Tenants evolves around Valter, a working-class family man who lives with his wife and two children in what in Brazil is called periferia (the periphery or outskirts) of the city of São Paulo. Against the backdrop of the violent attacks perpetrated mainly against the police and public transportation by the PCC, a crime syndicate, in 2006, Valter’s role as the head of the family is challenged by the arrival of his new next-door neighbours, three young thugs who are obviously involved in criminal activities.

Like in Bianchi’s previous films Chronically Unfeasible (2000) and What is it Worth (2005), in The Tenants the director’s main concern still is Brazilian society’s imbalances and unfairness, but this time it doesn’t look so much like an academic treatise, as we are drawn into the main character’s routine, the interior of his home and of his head, his work, and his night classes. So, interestingly, it makes us think not about what we should do as a society, but about what it means to be a man – when dignity has so much to do with it – when confronted by violence, be it in the form of threatening neighbours, of a cynical boss, or in the sheer imagination of things to come.

The film got the Best Screenplay (Beatriz Bracher and Sergio Bianchi) and the Best Supporting Actress (Cássia Kiss) awards at the Rio Film Festival 2009.

2009 | Brazil | 103 min | Directed by Sérgio Bianchi | Portuguese (subtitles in English)

25 October | 18:15 h. Doors | 18:45 h. Screening

Madame Satã (Madame Satan)

What a fascinating character and one that has inhabited the imagination of several generations of cariocas was Madame Satã – for some a symbol of resistance, for others the threatening and seductive image of an unknown underworld. The son of black slaves, as was the case with the majority of black Brazilians at that time, a gay man moved by cabaret acts that made him dream of performing his own numbers, and yet a remarkable street fighter capable of fierce reaction when spited.

Aïnouz brings us into the intimacy and the dream world of this anti-hero with the close plans, hot tones, and overlit unfocused scenes, so that we can witness at close range his anger, his sensibility and his tenderness.

Attention to the soundtrack with beautiful radio hits from the 1930s, sambas and romantic ballads.

This film won the Best Actor (Lázaro Ramos), Best Actress (Marcélia Cartaxo), Best Art Direction (Marcos Pedroso), Best Costumes and Best Make-up Awards at the BR Great Award of Brazilian Cinema 2003; Best Film Award at the Chicago International Film Festival 2003; Best Art Direction at the Havana Festival 2002; Trophy APCA 2003 for Best Actor and Best Director; and Special Mention at the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival 2003. In November 2015 Madame Satã was included in the list of the 100 best Brazilian films of all time by the Brazilian Association of Cinema Critics.

2002 |  Brazil-France | 105’ | Directed by Karim Aïnouz | Portuguese (subtitles in English) 

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